How SD Worx helped Febelfin Academy redefine its learning strategy

Febelfin Academy was established as an independent training institute for financial profiles ten years ago. Offering a wide range of courses – with a focus on banking technology – it serves financial institutions, independent banking and insurance agents and credit intermediaries. Febelfin Academy and SD Worx Consulting conducted a large-scale survey to devise a learning approach that is future-oriented and tailored to each target group.

How do financial professionals want to learn in the future?

Managing Director Ann Vanlommel: “We’ve been told repeatedly for years that e-learning would completely erase classroom learning in the long term. But is that really the case, and are our diverse target groups all on the same wavelength?” Febelfin Academy was struggling with these questions in early 2017.

SD Worx put together a multidisciplinary team to develop the best possible answer to our problem
– Ann Vanlommel, Managing Director Febelfin Academy

A multidisciplinary research team at work

Febelfin Academy submitted the issues to SD Worx, which in turn involved its partner, Antwerp Management School. Under the guidance of Professor Bart Cambré, they put together a large-scale survey within the network of the training institute: an online survey taken by a sample of 2,990 trainees, and 15 in-depth interviews with policymakers within its client portfolio. Since Febelfin Academy had already collaborated with the SD Worx Consulting team, the latter was familiar with the training institute’s inner workings. Ann Vanlommel: “In addition to the broad expertise in HR and learning, it was really great that SD Worx had put together a multidisciplinary team from within its broad network with the ambition of formulating the best possible answer to our problem.”

The future of learning is hybrid

The first important conclusion from the survey: financial professionals are not requesting a complete switch to digital learning. Ann Vanlommel: “Whether digital or classroom learning will be preferred depends on the target group and the course objective. And since it is often about going for the best of both worlds, trainees are asking for a smart combination of learning methods. In other words, the future is mainly in hybrid learning solutions.

“To learn new regulations, for example, it is possible to set up a learning path that combines a few classroom sessions with independent study. The basics can be learnt through a webinar, e-learning module or even a traditional syllabus, and then students can ask questions and tackle the most difficult concepts face-to-face.”

High-impact learning
Febelfin Academy’s research findings fully corroborate the recent theory of KU Leuven Professor Filip Dochy on high-impact learning. He states that learning is a continuous process involving different approaches – digital, face-to-face and workplace learning – that complement and reinforce each other.

Co-creation with financial institutions

In addition to hybrid learning solutions tailored to the different target groups, large and medium-sized financial institutions have expressed a need for co-creation. Ann Vanlommel: “The digital revolution has thoroughly shaken up the banking sector over the past decade, leading to a decrease in resources for most players.

“Although they developed their generic learning packages separately in-house until a few years ago, they are now approaching us to do that within a partnership.” The first co-creation project is now a reality: together with various financial institutions, the training institute developed a first digital learning pathway centred on the anti-money laundering legislation.